Sunday 19 November 2017

Hagan takes heart from Leitrim grit

Leitrim 1-10 Galway 2-6

Leitrim's Ray Cox scores his side's first goal past Galway's Paddy Maguire and goalkeeper Nathan King Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Leitrim's Ray Cox scores his side's first goal past Galway's Paddy Maguire and goalkeeper Nathan King Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
Leitrim manager Sean Hagan

John Fallon connacht FBD sfl

New Leitrim manager Sean Hagan praised his men for the way they came back in the second half against the wind at Ballinasloe to remain on course to retain their title.

Leitrim won the competition for the first time last year but looked to be in trouble when they trailed by 0-5 to 0-4 at the break, having played with the wind.

They will now face Sligo next weekend in the round-robin series and will fancy their chances of reaching the final again after Emlyn Mulligan rescued them in Ballinasloe yesterday with two late points.

"We asked at half-time about character and self-belief and we got plenty of it in the second half," said Hagan.

"The elements played a big part but we are as comfortable running with the ball as we are with delivering it long and fast, so playing against the wind wasn't that big a factor.

"We are just getting to know each other and trying to develop, but it is nice to win games."

Galway manager Alan Mulholland said that Leitrim's running game caused them difficulty, but he was disappointed they did not close out the win when they pulled ahead eight minutes from time. "We got ourselves into a winning position with the goals, but we weren't able to close it out. We are using this competition to try out players and we are learning a lot from it," he said.

Team captain Mulligan showed great nerve to kick the winning point with the last kick of the game when he landed a difficult free from the right from 30 metres having minutes earlier kicked an equaliser from play.

He finished with 0-7, crucially levelling just after half-time before Fergal Clancy edged them in front.

Mulligan set up Ray Cox for a fisted goal which left Leitrim ahead by four points going into the final quarter.

Galway hit back with the impressive Aongus Tierney and Shane Walsh combining to send debutant Burke through for a fine goal.

Gavin Reynolds put Leitrim two points up nine minutes from the end before another good passing movement ended with Michael Martin firing home a Galway goal to edge them in front.

But Leitrim did not relent and Mulligan tied the teams three minutes from the end with his third point from play before then hitting the winner after Gary Reynolds was fouled.

Scorers -- Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-7 (4fs), R Cox 1-1, F Clancy, Gavin Reynolds 0-1 each Galway: I Burke, M Martin 1-0 each, E Concannon, S Armstrong 0-2 each, M Hehir, D Cummins 0-1 each.

Leitrim -- C McCrann; B Prior, P Maguire, G Hickey; P Brennan, Gary Reynolds, S Foley; A Hickey, D Moran; K Conlon, R Lowe, F Clancy; R Cox, R Mulvey, E Mulligan. Subs: Gavin Reynolds for Mulvey (34), D Sweeney for Hickey (44), S McWeeney for Foley (51), A McLoughlin for Cox (53).

Galway -- N King; J Shaughnessy, J Moore, A Tierney; S Denvir, G Bradshaw, T Fahy; P Conroy, D O'Connell; G Sice, S Armstrong, M Hehir; D Cummins, E Concannon, I Burke. Subs: D O'Neill for Denvir (41), M Martin for Hehir (41), J Kavanagh for Sice (44), S Walsh for Cummins (48), E Hoare for O'Connell (53).

Ref -- J Henry (Mayo)

Irish Independent

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